Ohio State and Michigan hate each other, the Rose Bowl is played in Pasadena, California, and Lincoln Riley produces Heisman candidates. It’s just a few of the truths in college football. And that’s why Spencer Rattler is the first feature of our Heisman Watch-list series. After grooming Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray to Heisman trophies, and then Jalen Hurts to a runner-up finish, Lincoln Riley has another potential star in Rattler, although he hasn’t officially named him the starter yet.
Why he could be a Heisman contender?
Rattler was the top-rated recruit in 2018, and he has waited his chance to star in Norman. In the offense-happy Big 12, Rattler will certainly have every opportunity to put up dazzling numbers. If some Big 12 teams, Texas and Baylor come to mind, emerge as Top-25, maybe even top-15 teams, Rattler will get a chance for some Heisman moments.
Rattler has minimal experience, but he’s looked good in very little exposure to the collegiate game. He’s spent a full season learning under Jalen Hurts and working in Lincoln Riley’s air-raid system. In three games of game experience, Rattler is 7-11 for for 81 yards with a touchdown pass. He still has to win the starting job, but if (or when) he does, Rattler should be an instantaneous contender for the Heisman.
Game most likely to be a Heisman moment
October 10, home, vs. Texas
Rattler gets the arch-rival Longhorns at home, and dueling fellow Heisman candidate Sam Ehlinger. If Texas is as good as they hope to be, this could be a massive ranked match-up and a chance for Rattler to make a statement.
Game most likely to trip him up
September 26, @ Army
This may be a surprising pick, but Army is a tough team to put up numbers against, and two years ago, the Black Knights took the Sooners to overtime. If Rattler only gets 5-6 possessions to work with, it’s going to be difficult to awe anybody in this one. This will also be Oklahoma’s first road game of the season, and Army, who took Michigan to OT last year in Ann Arbor, can be a tough environment to play in. A loss here would seriously damage Rattler’s Heisman hopes.